As you may or may not know, Cal has a club ice hockey team and it's biggest game of the year, "the big freeze" versus Stanfurd just concluded. Unfortunately, the Golden Bears fell to the Cardinal 7-5, however, it was an extremely exciting game.Furd jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first period, but, as well all know, the Bear will not quit and scored two goals in the second period to make it 4-2 going into the third. Cal had all of the momentum to start the third period, and scored three goals within the first 10 minutes of the period to go up 5-4. When the go-ahead goal went in, the Oakland Ice Center went ballistic . . . with the huge crowd and band there, the atmosphere was incredible. Unfortunately, the trees got the equalizer thanks to a 4 on 3 Power Play and took a 6-5 lead with about 5 minutes left in the period. The Bears had their chances to tie the game up and send it to OT in the final minutes of the period, however, the final blow was an empty net goal with less than a minute remaining in the game.
As a die-hard hockey fan, I love to see the development of the sport in California from youth to adult leagues around the state. There is great community outreach by the San Jose Sharks in Northern California and the Anaheim Ducks in Southern California with a collection of rinks, programs that help kids learn about hockey, and even help pay for the (incredibly expensive) equipment for those less fortunate. Hockey in California is doing incredibly well thanks to the excellent product on the ice in Northern California (Sharks) and a championship in Southern California (Ducks)—the two teams' fan bases are growing like crazy. Also, this past year, two Californians were taken in the first round of the 2010 NHL entry draft: Beau Bennet (20th overall by Pittsburgh) and Emerson Etem (29th overall by Anaheim). Three other Californians were taken in the later rounds. I hope that someday—when we are no longer in a budget crisis and when sports like baseball are reinstated—Cal and the other California schools will seriously consider establishing NCAA division I hockey teams.
To read more about hockey in California, read this NHL.com article: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=532988